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The Canadian indie-rock group Stars formed back in 2000 under the influence of vocalist Torquil Campbell and keyboardist Chris Seligman. They were soon joined by friends Evan Cranely and Amy Millan. After relocating to New York City for a time, the band finally settled in the members’ hometown of Montreal. They released their first full-length album, Nightsongs, in February 2001 and followed up with an EP, The Comeback, that July. Since then, Stars has created a additional three EPs and five studio albums.
Yeasayer’s third and latest album Fragrant World continues the momentum that the experimental poppers from Brooklyn have been enjoying since they formed the group in 2006. Released in August, Fragrant World features all of the trademarks that transformed the group from a much-hyped psychedelic pop outfit into an international festival draw. Synth grooves as densely layered as they are danceable dominate the album, especially on lead single “Henrietta” and opening track “Fingers Never Bleed.”
Formed back in 1991 in New York City, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion puts the American rock and roll into alternative rock. The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Spencer, drummer Russell Simins, and bass guitarist Judah Baer. For over twenty years, the trio has reconstructed the base of American roots music through experimenting with their own sound and recording techniques. Their style draws upon the influences of many genres, including punk, blues, and rockabilly. Their unique approach to music has allowed the group to collaborate with artists such as Elliott Smith, Solomon Burke, Martina Topley-Bird, Steve Albini, and Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys.
Recently performing the irresistibly catchy single “This Head I Hold” on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon, Electric Guest is riding on a noteworthy wave of momentum that is helping the band significantly flourish in the music industry. This Los Angeles based indie band garnered an enormous amount of success with its release of Mondo (Downtown Records/ Across the Universe) this past April. Having well-known musician Danger Mouse produce the entire album, Mondo peaked at #32 on the French Albums chart, #11 on the US Heatseekers Albums chart and #49 on the US Independent Albums chart. It is clear that the band enjoys a rather fervent fan base in the US and abroad. Constantly, touring in North America and in Europe, the band is well on its way to establish firm presence in the music industry.
Ben Folds Five emerged in 1994 as music's only punk rock, piano-led trio. After slogging it out in clubs and building a following, they became one of the commercial and critical darlings of the 90’s releasing distinctive and eccentric piano-based music amidst the guitar heavy bands of the time. After releasing their third studio album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner in 1999, the band abruptly announced the split of Ben Folds Five in November of 2000.
It’s hard to write a definitive biography of an artist with as many career and relationship arcs as Leonard Cohen has experienced in his 78 years on earth. But that’s exactly what celebrated music journalist Sylvie Simmons has done with I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.
Words are powerful, be they spoken or sung. For siblings Ian, Eric, and Brittany Hölljes, three of the four lead singers in the American folk rock band Delta Rae, the power of words came to them in the form of mythological stories told by their parents. In fact, the band’s name is inspired by a fictional story the Hölljeses’ mother intended to write. From then on, Ian, Eric, Brittany, and fourth lead singer Elizabeth Hopkins have worked to let their voices and their words be heard.
Father John Misty is quite a character. And he is a character invented by Josh Tillman to hang his rock and roll persona on.
Formed in 2005, Titus Andronicus is a New Jersey based punk/indie rock band that recently released its well-acclaimed forth studio album Local Business (XL Recordings). Inspired by Shakespeare’s very first tragedy, Titus Andronicus, the band collectively decided to identify itself with this renowned literary classic. Though the band has experienced some instability with its members in the past, it currently consists of Patrick Stickles, Eric Harm, Julian Veronesi, Liam Betson, and Adam Reich.
This the 23rd segment in our Latin music series Latin Roots. It’s time for our Latin Roots segment but this time it is a little different as our correspondent Felix Contreras from NPR’s Alt-Latino is actually going to play congas and talk about the drums that are central to so much Latin music.

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